Caesarea, Israel - King Herod's Ancient Port City #travel #VisitIsrael

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Another fascinating stop on my evangelical tour of Israel was the ancient city of Caesarea, which is over 2000 years old. Located north of Tel Aviv on the Mediterranean coast, it was once a thriving city built by King Herod, who named it Caesarea to honor Caesar Augustus, the Roman Emperor.
King Herod built Caesarea into a grand port city, with an aqueduct that supplied the city with spring water, an enormous hippodrome where chariot races were held, and a large amphitheater where even today events are held. Caesarea is an important historical site to Christians for several reasons.
Caesarea was the Roman capital of Judea during Jesus lifetime. It was the place where Pontius Pilate governed at the time of Jesus. A tablet with the name of Pontius Pilate was found near the amphitheater and it is the only archaeological evidence of his existence. It is also the site where Simon Peter (a disciple of Jesus) converted Cornelius (a Roman) to Christianity. Cornelius was the first non-Jew to believe Jesus is the son of God.
The book of Matthew in the Bible tells us that Jesus also visited Caesarea:

Matthew 16: 13 When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? 14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. 15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? 16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
The book of Mark also notes the same event:

Mark 8: 27 And Jesus went out, and his disciples, into the towns of Caesarea Philippi: and by the way he asked his disciples, saying unto them, Whom do men say that I am? 28 And they answered, John the Baptist: but some say, Elias; and others, One of the prophets. 29 And he saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Peter answereth and saith unto him, Thou art the Christ.
The photo above and below both show the remains of the once-luxurious pool that King Herod built as part of his palace.
The next three photos are the hippodrome, which held 20 thousand spectators, where King Herod hosted chariot races. Can you imagine all the noise of the people cheering and the pounding of the horses' hooves?

The next two photos show the incredible amphitheater, which faces towards the beautiful Mediterranean Sea. Much of it has been reconstructed so that concerts can be held there now.

A characteristic Roman Arch located near the amphitheater:
Intricately carved column capital:
A burial sarcophagus:
Caesarea was also the site of the apostle Paul's two-year imprisonment. In the fourth century, it was the center of the Roman Christian Empire. Throughout history, the port city of Caesarea fell to many different civilizations, but even today we can see the greatness of King Herod's early building skills.

I cannot emphasize enough how interesting and inspirational it is to visit Israel. To be able to see these historical sites and walk where Jesus walked has made a lasting impact on me. I encourage you to take this journey!

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